Thursday, January 21, 2010

When Pressure Puts A Mirror To Your Face... What Do You See?

I was recently watching a tennis match, where Roger Federer was on the brink of losing, but found a way to come back and win. The announcers kept talking about his ability to "thrive under pressure." They were in awe of how good he plays when he's under the most stress, trying to explain it to the viewers, but not quite sure what to say.

I couldn't help but scream at the television, wishing I was in the booth breaking down Federer's mental toughness. He does thrive under pressure, playing his best when he's being pushed to the limit... but why? What separates him from the others? During these moments, what does he see staring back at him when he's forced to look in the mirror?

I ask these questions, not because I want you to analyze a sporting event ~ instead, I want you to ponder your own specific challenges and pressures. You and Federer have a lot in common... you just don't know it yet.

The more strain he feels, the better he plays... why? Because he LOVES THE PRESSURE! He embraces the difficult emotional moments, and understands that most of his competition does not. How does this relate to your life? Pressure is a part of all of us, whether we're professional athletes, trying to create a healthier body, in the corporate world ~ whatever the specifics. How we handle the pressure is what will ultimately define us.

Learn to love the pressure we feel, rather than running away.

"I love the challenge of losing (X) lbs. this month. This will be exciting, trying to stay mentally and emotionally tough all month long. Nothing will hold me from accomplishing my goal because I'm too tough. I love the pressure."

"I thrive under the pressure my boss just put on my shoulders. The higher the expectations, the better I'll do."

Pick a situation, put "love the pressure" into the sentence, and witness the different feelings you immediately have. Strength and confidence automatically become part of your core, because there isn't fear attached to that pressure any longer ~ only passion, assurance, and determination.

Roger Federer competes better than his opponents when the match is on the line ~ when he's walking that tight rope. He's learned to love the situation, and builds confidence from the fact that most run away from it. You can love it too. Simply, switch your mindset.

Look at your specific challenges through different lenses from now on. Break away from the majority who dread these moments... who fear failure. Instead, invite success!

Pressure is our best friend. He forces us to concentrate and dig deep to achieve. He's directly responsible for every goal we've accomplished in the past, and every goal we'll attain in the future.

When pressure puts a mirror to your face... what do you see?


Bendigo said...

Ahh...Great Post...

When pressure puts the mirror in my face, I see that 12 year old version of myself. I can surely understand the sports aspect of the pressure. That's where I try to put myself. I was the kid that wanted to be up with 2 outs in the last inning. I try to remember that is where I always want to be. If the expectation lies with me, than I can dictate my success....I AM IN CONTROL... I like how you have managed to string these concepts together. This fits so nicely for me with your enough is enough post...

Great stuff!!

Annie, The Amazing Shrinking Girl said...

Love it and something we all need to think about!

BTW, I gave you the 'Happy 101' award on my blog.

You are a true inspiration and definitely deserve it! Be sure to check it out and accept it!

Matty said...

Excellent article Dane. It's all about your mindset. Your attitude. When the chips are on the line and I look into the mirror, I see a winner.

Rettakat said...

Oh Dayne... is this really true!? This is the way he really thinks!? This is The Difference, that winning edge?? The way "winners" think?!

I truly had not thought of it like that. Oh sure, I would think there is a "good" kind of stress that helps push me to accomplish a thing. But to welcome it as an allie... to invite success by "loving the pressure"?? Wow.

I guess this just came at the perfect time for me. JUST TODAY I was experiencing intimidation over some pressure to stretch myself in a new way (in my art career). I did recognize it as a fear of failure... what if I can't pull it off, and they are disappointed or don't like it, or I can't meet the deadline, etc etc.

Thank you so much for this. I am printing it out to re-read and think about... a LOT!

Calli said...

I like this post very much, Dayne.
when pressure puts a mirror in my face...what do I see?

I see a woman who in the face of pressure fights harder, produces better results and has a smile on her face. Pressure has always made me perform better in college and in business.

At this point I am making changes regarding my artwork and so self-pressure is upon me and I could stand to be a little harder on myself. :)


Mr.Poo said...

When I was a bachelor, my apartment did look like shit. Why? Because there was no pressure. Now I´m married with Mrs. Pressure. When I forget to make the bed in the morning, I have to hurry home before Mrs Pressure shows up. I can tell you, I can make the bed under 30 seconds when Mrs. Pressure is coming. Oh, and its the same with dishes, laundry and sex, I have to perform 110% when Mrs. Pressure is pushing me.

plainolebob said...

When pressure puts a mirror to your face... what do you see?
Coach Dayne, guess i am a little weird cause I usually see a zit that needs to be dealt with, just kiddin, no pressure just a pimple of a challenge.

Phil-theincredibleshrinkingman said...

I so could have done with reading this post Sunday morning, thanx Coach, I feel more confident for meeting February head on.

Anonymous said...

Never hesitate to hold out your hand; never hesitate to accept the outstretched hand of another...................................................

spldbch said...

I really haven't thought about it that way but I suppose "pressure" is just like any other emotion we typically label unpleasant -- we do better by turning towards it and accepting it as opposed to trying to push it away.

Great post!

Dan Gurney said...

Great photo! I think all of us at times see a lion in the mirror when we're actually just kittens. At least when we're feeling up.

But most of the time, I think we're lions looking into mirrors and seeing just kittens. That's when we turn on the TV, snap on the radio, or check our email to distract ourselves from our actual lion lives.